Philly School District Flagged for Unlawful Discrimination

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Philly School District Flagged for Unlawful Discrimination
PHILADELPHIA, PA – The School District of Philadelphia may have a large gender and race discrimination class action lawsuit on its hands. The lead lawsuit alleges that the district caused one plaintiff to lose a scholarship to a Division I college and that the district violated federal law when it failed to provide the support to the girls’ teams of certain high schools.
Nadirah McRae alleges the School District of Philadelphia discriminated against girls, like her, from low-income majority African American high schools on the basis of their race and discriminated against them on the basis of their gender. McRae explained that she began playing Lacrosse at Strawberry Mansion High, but the suit claims the district failed to provide support. Moreover, the complaint claims McRae got a scholarship at the University of Hartford and then lost it when the district failed to file the proper paperwork.
She said, “It made me feel like we weren’t good enough to play lacrosse.”
Specifically, the Lacrosse team at Strawberry Mansion High needed buses, cleats, uniforms, and other basic athletic equipment, yet the School District failed to provide aid. McRae’s discrimination attorney states that such failure by the district was a violation of federal law because when it failed to provide the same resources to Strawberry Mansion or similarly situated schools to play non-traditional sports, yet, it gave to the necessary resources to affluent schools, such as Central.
The Strawberry Mansion Lacrosse Coach Jazmine Smith says that the district retaliated against her, firing her when she spoke out after her girls could only play three other teams during the season. She noted that none were teams from more affluent schools that were provided greater resources. “It’s very hard to get girls recruited from that status,” said Smith.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages of more than $250,000 in addition to equitable remedies that would help minority girls of color participate in non-traditional sports, like field hockey and lacrosse.
In response to the recently filed complaint, the School District of Philadelphia stated, “One of our core values as a school district is increasing opportunity in the classroom and on the playing field for all of our students regardless of race or gender. We work every day to ensure equity across the School District and that every child is given the opportunity to succeed. Last year we had more than 250 female student-athletes participating on 20 of our school teams in field hockey and girl’s lacrosse, and we continue to promote all sports within the Philadelphia Public League.”
Whether the unlawful discrimination occurs on the athletic field, the classroom, or the workplace, all women (and men) have rights! Under federal law, Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, and Philadelphia law workplace discrimination and sexual harassment is illegal and should not be tolerated.
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